Approval Guide

Overview

The Commission rules require radio frequency (RF) devices to be properly authorized under Part 2 of its rules prior to their marketing or importation in the United States. The Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) administers the equipment authorization program under the authority delegated to it by the Commission.  This program is one of the principal ways the Commission ensures that RF devices used in the United States operate effectively without causing harmful interference and otherwise comply with the Commission’s rules.  All RF devices subject to equipment authorization must comply with the Commission’s technical requirements prior to importation or marketing. 

Our rules require that equipment that contains an RF device be authorized in accordance with the appropriate procedures specified in Subpart J of Part 2 of the rules described below (with certain limited exceptions). These requirements not only minimize the potential for harmful interference, but also ensure that the equipment complies with our rules that address other policy objectives – such as RF human exposure limits and hearing aid compatibility (HAC) with wireless handsets.

There are three different approval procedures for equipment authorization and the specific procedure that is required to be used is based on the relative likelihood of causing harmful interference. The procedures are:

Obtaining an Equipment Authorization

The following summary provides seven steps to help determine which approval procedure applies to a device (product) and the basic steps to getting that device approved under the FCC requirements:

  • Step 1 – Determine if device is a Radio Frequency (RF) device subject to the FCC rules.

  • If a device is subject to FCC rules, determine the specific type of equipment authorization that applies to the device.  Become familiar with all the basic marketing, equipment authorization, and importation rules. In some instances, a device may have different functions resulting in the device being subject to more than one type of approval procedure.

  • Step 2 – Determine all applicable technical and administrative rules that apply to the device requiring an equipment authorization.

    The technical requirements are generally specified in the applicable FCC rule parts and the administrative rules are specified in Part 2, Subpart J.

    NOTE – Determining all applicable technical and administrative rules requires a technical understanding of the electrical functions of the device and an understanding of the FCC rules.  For assistance, we recommend that you work with one of the Accredited Testing Laboratories or TCBs.  Questions can also be submitted through the Knowledge Database (KDB).

  • Step 3 – Perform the required tests to ensure the device complies with the applicable technical requirements.  

    The type of testing facility (laboratory) used to demonstrate compliance is based on the required approval procedure.

  • Verification
    Equipment approved using the Verification procedure is required to be tested, however, it is not required to use a FCC Recognized Testing Laboratory. The test laboratory used is required to maintain a record of the measurement facilities as specified in Section 2.948.

  • Declaration of Conformity
    Equipment approved using the DoC procedure is required to be tested by an FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratory. The Commission maintains a list of the FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratories.

  • Certification
    Equipment approved under the Certification procedure is required to be tested by an FCC Recognized Testing Laboratory as follows:
    • Prior to July 13, 2016, either a Section 2.948 Listed Laboratory or an FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratory.
    • After July 13, 2016, all types of equipment approved under the Certification procedure are required to be tested by an FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratory.
  • Step 4 – Once the testing is complete and the device is found to be in compliance, finalize the approval process based on the applicable approval procedure:

  • Verification

    • The responsible party as specified in the rules warrants that each unit of equipment complies with the applicable FCC rules.
    • The responsible party maintains all of the required documentation demonstrating compliance with the applicable FCC rules.
    Declaration of Conformity
    • The responsible party prepares a compliance information statement to be supplied with the product at the time of marketing.
    • The responsible party maintains all of the required documentation demonstrating compliance with the applicable FCC rules.

    Certification

    • The responsible party, typically the manufacturer, obtains an FCC Registration Number (FRN) for a device requiring Certification. The FRN is a 10-digit number used to identify the individual or organization doing business with the FCC. The same FRN will be used for future approvals.
    • The responsible party obtains a Grantee Code from the Commission by applying on the website at Grantee Registration. A grantee code is required the first time a party applies for certification and can be used for all future approvals.
    • The responsible party applies to a Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) for a grant of certification. An application for equipment authorization requires submission of information about the product, as listed in Section 2.1033 of the rules. The applicant must submit the required information to a TCB for review as part of the certification process.

    Step 5 – Label the product and provide the required customer information.

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  • Step 6 – Maintain all documentation as part of the responsibility for retention of records and ensure that the manufactured products are in compliance.

  • Step 7 – When importing products into the United States, follow the importation requirements and complete/file FCC Form 740.

Supporting Information
Testing Laboratories
Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCB)
Equipment Authorization Databases
Updated:
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 3:15pm
Bureau/Office: